Head Coach Joe Judge
August 25, 2021
Opening Statement: Listen, I’d like to start off obviously by offering our thoughts and prayers to (Former Giants Head) Coach (Tom) Coughlin and his wife, Judy. It’s something that, there’s a number of people who knew at an earlier pace. It’s obviously not our job to speak for anybody else. Look, what Coach Coughlin has done for the organization, for his players, obviously speaks volumes. You know he’s even taken it further with those dearest to him and his wife, so anything we can do to support the family, as he’s supported the organization, we always will. I’ll say that. Then obviously Coach Coughlin has been great for me, personally, so anything he ever needs from me, I’ll be here for him. With that being said, our focus today as a team is to come up here and compete against a quality opponent. The series of practices both today and tomorrow will be very geared towards situation. Situation meaning third down, red area and two-minute. We’ll work some specific drills and setups to make sure we work some techniques on both sides of the ball, offense and defense, for both us and the Patriots to help us address some issues or some areas that maybe we hadn’t had enough work on in camp based on the opponents we’ve worked against or things that haven’t specifically come up in the preseason games as of yet. So, we’re going to structure this working together. The pace of the practice will be a working tempo. We’re going to work together. We’re going to stay up, stay off the ground. There’s no cutting. We’re not looking to go ahead and live tackle at any point in any of these drills. There’s going to be guys on both teams at different points in practice wearing red jerseys. We would treat any player with a red jersey the same as we would treat a quarterback, punter, kicker or whatever it is. We’re going to stay off them. It’s going to be a non-contact portion. With that being said, I’ll open it up to any questions.
Q: Who will be wearing red (jerseys) for you guys?
A: So, when (Running Back) Saquon’s (Barkley) here tomorrow, he’ll be in a red jersey. As of right now, it’s the only one we’ll have. We’re going to remove (Tight End) Kyle Rudolph off PUP. He’s going to work mostly individual today and ramp him up. As soon as we can get him into team drills – I don’t foresee that being these next two days, but as soon as we can get him involved for team drills and build him up to where he’s going to be, we’ll go ahead and do that in a timely manner.
Q: Is this Saquon issue something that came up very last minute?
A: This is something personal. It has nothing to do with football. It was something he communicated with me last week. There’s certain instances that I’ll always work with a player on. I’ll let him speak for himself in terms of what it is. I’m not going to go ahead and air his business. I’m not going to go ahead speak on behalf of Saquon about his business. I’ll let him address it if he feels like it, but he’ll join us tonight in the hotel and be with us on the field tomorrow.
Q: But not health or COVID-19 related?
A: It has nothing to do with health. It has nothing to do with COVID-19.
Q: How many real hits does his (Saquon’s) leg have to take or does he have to take prior to Week 1 for you to say he’s ready for that?
A: I don’t have a specific answer on that number for me. I’m relying a lot on the medical team right here. We’ve had lengthy meetings. We sat down the other day and talked for about an hour, specifically on Saquon and the plan for this week and then going forward. Obviously, we’re all looking in terms of what does the short-term picture look like in terms of the start of the season? What’s the long-term picture look like based on if we rush him back or if we take our time and where he’s right at? So, we’ll put him in the red jersey. The most important part is for him to get out here and get football movement, reaction on movement against an opponent. He hasn’t seen seven-on-seven, yet. He hasn’t seen 11-on-11, yet. These things we have to build up with him. We’ve talked with the other coaching staff as they have with us about their players. We’re going to work together on this and make sure that both teams can operate to make progress this week and improve and be safe at the same time.
Q: How much do you believe his leg does have to take a hit or do you believe his leg does have to take a hit?
A: I think every player has to have physical contact and experience the hits they’re going to take in a game before it becomes live, full speed in the regular season. The reality of the nature is, the speed of the game increases from preseason to regular season to postseason. That’s just what happens. For us to put a player on the field without preparing him either through practice or preseason games without contact, we’re putting that player in danger and at a disservice. I know a lot of people want to put their head in a box and pretend it doesn’t exist, doesn’t happen. The reality is when you go out there in Denver, Washington, Atlanta, that’s live bullets now. They’re flying around. They’re trying to hit our players as hard as they can, as we are to them, make good form tackles and end a play. So, the best thing you can do for your players is prepare them for what they’re going to see by putting them in controlled situations, experience the technique, let your body get used to the contact as close and collisions that are going to happen in a game, and then build on that as it goes to more 11-on-11 situations. I don’t have a number of hits to go back to your original question. In terms of is it necessary? I would absolutely say that contact of some form is absolutely necessary. Now, we’ll decide what kind of contact it is and what kind of controlled drill we’re going to put him in before putting him in 11-on-11 and what we allow him to do. But before we put him out there in live contact and just say Godspeed, we’re going to make sure this guy’s prepared, because my number one priority is his health. Before anything else, it’s the health of the player before we get on to anything else.
Q: What’s the plan for (Wide Receiver) Kadarius (Toney) and (Wide Receiver) Kenny (Golladay) today?
A: They’re both going to stay with the trainers today and ramp up. We’ll see where they are for tomorrow. They’re more day by day at this point.
Q: What about (Tackle) Nate Solder?
A: Nate will be limited in practice today. You’ll see him do some things. He’ll definitely be continuing to do the individual with the group. He’ll do a little bit against the Patriots in some team drills. Really, it’s going to be kind of based on ramping him back up from missing some time right now.
Q: You felt that (Quarterback) Daniel (Jones) got good work last week in Berea, right? What do you look for him to maybe advance that work in these two days here?
A: I think he’s just got to keep taking steps every day he gets on the field. It’s going to be great because it’s different schemes, different opponents, different techniques than what he saw last week. That’s the benefit of these practices. Now, there’s going to be some similarities in what he sees in our practices, but it’s not carbon copy. (Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator) Pat (Graham) obviously worked in this system. There’s things he’s taken with (him) to build his own system. There’s things that are very different in terms of the techniques we play, the checks, the adjustments, whatever it may be. So, while there may be some similarities, it’s a different defense for Daniel to see. It’s much different than last week. It would be great to see him make the adjustments, our team to make the adjustments on the fly to be able to go out there and compete at a high level.
Q: Is (Linebacker) Azeez (Ojulari) back to a full load or are you going to hold off on him?
A: We’re going to increase him today and tomorrow we expect him to be full speed. We’ll see where he goes with that. But this guy, we’re just kind of managing some loads with him right now.
Q: How beneficial is it to get that work against a foreign scheme in practice?
A: It’s huge. It’s huge. The one thing is when you practice against yourselves, you’re obviously going on your install map out and you’re working very thoroughly on what you have to accomplish on all sides of the ball. Now, what happens sometimes is that can get a little predictable for your own team at times. You come out here today, the periods are unscripted. We’re moving on through it. They’re going to make adjustments. We’re going to make adjustments. The players are going to have different techniques. There’s different reactions we’re going to see from the players in general. It’s huge for us to get this work against other teams.
Q: How similar or dissimilar is your program and your practices to kind of what we’re going to see here from the Patriots?
A: You may see a familiar layout. Obviously, there’s some familiarity that everyone brings. I can’t stress enough that, again, I’ve learned something from every coach I’ve ever worked under and every system I’ve been in. So, I’ve taken something for our program from everywhere I’ve ever been. That starts with (Former Mississippi State Head Coach) Jackie Sherrill going all the way through (Alabama Head) Coach (Nick) Saban, (Patriots Head) Coach (Bill) Belichick, Coach Sherrill, (Former Mississippi State Head Coach) Coach (Sylvester) Croom, (Former Lansdale Catholic Head) Coach (Jim) Algeo. So, it’s everyone I’ve ever worked for, I’ve taken something from it. Will the layout and format of practice look familiar? Yeah, it will look familiar in some regard. Some things will be different. There are some familiar drills that we do we’ll actually do competitively against them today that you’ve seen us do in early parts of practice as part of our ramp-up, warm-up and technique that we’ll absolutely have the opportunity today to kind of do more competitively today against somebody different. Is this going to look identical or a carbon copy? Absolutely not. Are there similarities from any coach who comes from a different program? Yeah, there’s always something you can trace back and say that looks very familiar.
Q: What do you say to the idea when people look and see, especially from a distance and say, ‘the hard practices, the hard training camp, oh, he’s just another one of these Belichick guys,’ and fall into the stereotype there?
A: I can’t control what people say. I do what I think is best to get our team ready for the season and make them safe individually to play.
Q: What does a healthy Kyle Rudolph – what can he do for Daniel?
A: We’ll have to wait and see. We haven’t seen him on the field with Daniel. That’d be unfair to make some kind of prediction or statement for him right now. I know he’s working very hard. He obviously has a very accomplished resume. He’s a good player. He brings a lot of value in situational football. He’s a big target with good hands. You know what, we’ll just wait until we see him and Daniel really working together in team situations.
Q: Will your reps and how you dole them out be any different than what you did in Cleveland last week because you expect the ‘first-teamers’ to play a lot more on Sunday night?
A: Not totally, but there are going to be some different groups that we blend together to see how the chemistry forms. We’re still going to have to work everybody on the roster for the volume of the practice to make sure everybody gets work. But there’s going to be certain drills that we’re going to prioritize different personnel groupings against people that we are going to put on the field as well.
Q: How much can guys that are fighting for roster spots help themselves these next two days?
A: Everyone needs to come out here every day and be productive. Every day.
Q: (Wide Receiver) John Ross, (Linebacker) Elerson Smith, will we see more from those guys?
A: No. They’re going to stay with the trainers today and ramp up.
Q: Being out here, I know it’s not a trip down memory lane, but when you came out here and looked around, did you say, ‘this is what I remember?’
A: I mean, look, I don’t really have time for nostalgia right now to be honest with you. Obviously, there’s a lot of players that I’ve coached for years that are on this team. There’s a lot of familiarity with a lot of things. Right now, I’m focused on getting our team to improve and get better. We’re out here, and if I start trying to take a walk down memory lane, I’ll forget about what’s going on in the present. So, I’ve got to keep my focus narrow right there and understand what our team has to do.
Q: Have you talked with Bill yet or how does that work?
A: I haven’t seen him this morning. We talked on the phone at length throughout the last few days leading up to this. We’ve talked continuously throughout the offseason mapping this out. I’ve talked with other coaches on their staff to make sure we’re mapped out drill by drill. Pat (Graham) and (Offensive Coordinator) Jason (Garrett) and T-Mac (Special Teams Coordinator Thomas McGaughey) have talked to their coordinators. Position coaches have talked across the ball. I’ll see Bill when he gets out here.
Q: Are you going to have your captains, your leaders, talk to their leaders like you did in Cleveland?
A: We’ve already kind of touched base and addressed it. We’re going to be okay.
Q: Can you guys evaluate, or do you evaluate another team’s players off of these practices? Like, is it an opportunity to scout?
A: Well, the most important thing for us to do is evaluate our own players right now and understand where we’re progressing to. Now, every time you play anybody – whether it’s our own offense versus our own defense or it’s a foreign opponent in a game, a scrimmage, a practice or whatever it may be – you always have to have some kind of evaluation going on of who you’re playing against. How is your player stacking up against whoever he’s matched up with on a one-on-one or a team type of situation? You can always go ahead and put a scale on the talent level, the ability level and where we are technique-wise. You’re always evaluating everybody. That’s just the reality of it. Every time I watch our game tape, I’m evaluating our 11 on the field and I’m also evaluating that against their 11 on the field. It’d be a lie to say you’re not evaluating everybody, but right now our focus is on the New York Giants.